Farzat: Terrorists Obliterated History of Ancient Apamea Site for Material Gains

The ancient Apamea site [also known as Afamia] in Hama province has been looted and vandalized by terrorist organizations, who have used heavy machines that obliterated the history of this site, Director of Hama Antiquities Directorate says.

Abdul Qader Farzat told the state-run 'Tishreen' newspaper [in Arabic] that Apamea site was subject to barbaric and overt digging day and night by terrorists, who carried out excavation works by heavy machines to achieve material gains from artifacts smuggled by them from the site.

 "We were closely observing the immoral works of terrorists in this site and we had photos and videos showing thieves' sabotage of the archaeological sites. We communicated with the Interpol and provided it with the documents we have in order to restore the stolen artifacts," he added.

Farzat pointed out that restoration of some damaged sites, such as Tayyibat al-Imam Museum and Apamea site- located on the front lines of clashes with terrorists-  requires a long time and well-qualified experts.

Extent of damage at sites

"The extent of damage at historical sites in Hama city is less than 25%, but we cannot define it exactly as some areas are still held by terrorists,"  he stressed, indicating that the extent of damage in some sites reached up to 75%, while it reached 50 % in other sites.

Farzat concluded by saying that Hama residents had cooperated with Antiquities Directorate to protect Hama National Museum from thieves for a week till the arrival of Syrian army's units to the site .

In April, Directorate-General of Antiquities and Museums  (DGAM) announced that 89 looted artifacts returned to Syria through Lebanon and the sale of other looted artifacts in Europe was stopped in cooperation with INTERPOL and UNESCO.

There are 10.000 archeological sites in Syria, 300 of them have been damaged since the start of the terrorist war on Syria, Dr. Abdulkarim told the French Le Figaro newspaper in 2015.

Since 2011, Syria has faced a foreign-backed terror war targeting its army, people, civilization and infrastructures in accordance with US-Zionist plot that aims to fragment the region and to have hegemony over its wealth.

Basma Qaddour